January 31, 2009

BIPARTISAN

The first blogger my husband read was Matt Welch, waaay back in the day. Today Matt has a good post up that's kinda related to what irritated me yesterday. Money quote:

The other factor at play here, which Democratic ears seem unable to detect, is that Obama is skillfully turning the meaning of the word "bipartisan" into "the coalition that agrees with my magnanimous self."

Yep, disagree with Obama and you are destroying America and ruining democracy.

Hat tip to my husband, who runs in different blog circles than I do and always manages to find interesting stuff that I wouldn't happen upon. Also he is hot.

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January 29, 2009

USING SCIENCE

KDeRosa blogs about schoolwork that's not exactly brainwork:

The competition challenges middle school students to design a city of the future with a focus on water conservation, reuse, and renewable energy. The students use the game SimCity (Deluxe 4) to help them build their three-dimensional models to scale. They have a semester to dream up and then construct their miniature cities entirely out of recycled materials. Supposedly, this inspires them to consider engineering as a profession.

He belittles the project, saying:

This is not how engineer's turn an idea into reality. It doesn't seem to me that the students needed to know any actual engineering or any engineering constraints to construct their models. So, this is how a non-engineer turns ideas into reality. And, I'm not sure this exercise , in any way, generalizes to any real-world situation.

I suppose the kids did learn how to play SimCity. Videogames 101. That's what kids need -- more time playing videogames. I'm sure SimCity is a neat program, but it's not exactly a precursor to AutoCAD or other real-world construction/drafing programs.

And how does building a model out of recycled mterials generalize to building real stuff with recylced materials? Someone explain that to me.

Found via Amritas via Joanne Jacobs, where Joanne writes:

My husband, born to be an engineer, built a color TV set when he was in high school. It worked. His father, also an engineer, built model planes as a teenager. They flew.

My first husband, a math-physics guy, designed an atomic bomb in fifth grade for a school project. “It probably wouldn’t have worked,” he said. But he’d studied the science and the math. It wasn’t an art project.

My uncle built a working light show in his basement when he was a kid. He rigged up a Lite Brite to a Casio keyboard, so when he played certain notes, different lights lit up.

I wish I had developed more of an interest in these math and science projects when I was young.

To conclude with an awesome comment by hardlyb:

When I was in 3rd grade I made a sextant out of a protractor, a couple of pieces of wood, some string, nails, and thumbtacks. The trick, of course, was to calibrate it, and I can’t remember what I did, but when I tested it that night against the North Star, it was dead on. Anyway, I turned the thing in after doing a presentation to the class, and I got an A. Then Miss GrumpyFace, the teacher from the class next door, came in to judge our contest. She awarded first prize to a ‘diorama’ that had Native Americans and dinosaurs in it (the diorama was really a shoebox with plastic toys arranged in it), and she held up my entry as an example of something beneath contempt. She had absolutely no idea what it was, and hadn’t bothered to ask.

I didn’t really mind her reaction, because the realization that many of the teachers at my crappy rural East Texas public school were too ignorant and/or stupid to understand the work an 8-year-old was something that I, as an 8-year-old, found very interesting. It doesn’t appear that things have changed much, except now they give all the kids a shoebox and some plastic Native Americans and dinosaurs. So the teachers don’t ever have wonder “What the hell is that thing?”.

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January 28, 2009

THE RAW DEAL

BigD sent me a link that was just genius. It was exactly what I was looking for when I wrote about the New Deal.

Why The New Deal Failed

Now before we get into the specifics of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, which was the name of his government program, I wanted to begin by announcing some of the results from a Fox News poll that was done over a year ago. The poll asked, "When the government spends money for programs, does it get the money from taxpayers, or does the government have an independent source of revenue?"

Let me start with the answer this way. Eleven percent weren't sure. They were undecided. Forty percent said government gets its money from taxpayers. Forty-nine percent said they have an independent source of revenue. So the answer to the poll was 49 percent said government has an independent source of revenue that it uses to spend money for programs; 40 percent said no, every time it spends a dollar on programs it has to get the dollar from taxpayers; and 11 percent were undecided.

Can you see why after this poll, when we have government programs that fail, it does not result in throwing those who perpetrated the program out of office? You have one group that gets a sizable vote-forty percent-that is mad about it. But there are others who say: "Hey, it's not my money. It's the government's money. At least they tried."

And it gets better from there...

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January 14, 2009

I RSVP I DO

I have been a fan of the singer Jude for about ten years now. I love his music, and when I went to his concert in Champaign, IL, it was the best concert I've ever attended. (And also the last, because I'm old.) I got to meet him after that concert, when he stood around and shook everyone's hand and signed autographs.

And now he's on Big Hollywood revealing that he's a conservative.

Be still my heart.

I'm gonna go order his two most recent albums. I balked at buying an album named Cuba because I was afraid of it being a communist paean, but now I don't think I have anything to worry about.

And if you've never heard Jude's music before, this is the song to start with.

Thanks to Amritas for finding this post...and being the kind of friend who knows that I like Jude.

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